Engagement Party Themes

An engagement party can take almost any form. Here are a few popular options, depending on location, intended guest list, and the engaged couple’s particular likes.

Formal Dinner

Usually reserved for a small, intimate gathering, such as close family members, a formal dinner is the traditional setting for a first engagement party, usually hosted by the bride’s parents.

Cocktail Reception

A cocktail reception works well for many professionals in large cities where the guest list also includes people who might be coming from work. Depending on location, the number of guests can be kept small or allow for including many different friends. A nice personal touch—use napkins embossed with the couple’s names and, if available, intended wedding date.


Grab a volleyball net and ball, call your guests, and hit the park. Food can be traditional picnic fare (deli trays and coolers filled with beverages), potluck, or even from the engaged couple’s favorite takeout/delivery restaurant.

Pool Party Plunge

Take the plunge—off a diving board! Just make certain the bride’s engagement ring fits securely before she jumps into the pool. To keep with the theme, ask guests to sign a “taking the plunge” book with advice based on their own weddings or weddings they have attended.

It’s In the Cards

Gather friends for a card night where “hearts always trump.” Some print shops can provide personalized decks of cards, and who better to serve as the King and Queen of Hearts than a newly engaged couple?

Where It All Started

Find out where, when, and how the engaged couple first met, and replicate the atmosphere. Even if you can’t take all of your party guests cross-country to the exact place they met, you can decorate your venue to carry the theme. To really capture the moment, find out what music was playing, what they were eating and drinking, and who else was there.

Game Night

Organize a game night where all of the games play off the romance theme—whether you like board games like Compatibility or active games, like Twister. In some of these, couples can serve as teams, and in others, the teams will be split by gender. To keep the emphasis on the engaged couple, begin or end the night with a trivia contest to find out which party guest knows the most about the couple—when they met, where they had their first kiss, each one’s favorite restaurant, etc.

The Secret Ingredient: Love

Organize a potluck where each of the guests brings a favorite dish and a copy of the recipe to share—with words of wisdom from the friends scribbled in the margins. Bind the recipes into a cookbook for the engaged couple. This is especially good for couples that haven’t tried much cooking themselves but are looking forward to trying.

The Volunteer Party

Sometimes a charity or other worthy cause is dear to the engaged couple’s heart. Plan a volunteer party where the guests spend several hours on a specific task to benefit that charity: build part of a house for Habitat for Humanity, cook and serve dinner at a homeless shelter, repaint a local school, walk in a walk-a-thon, etc. Make sure the guests know what to expect so everyone dresses appropriately and plans to stay for the complete event.